1.The Apostles' Creed
The basic creed of Reformed churches, as most familiarly
known, is called the Apostles' Creed. It has received this title because of its
great antiquity; it dates from very early times in the Church, a half century or
so from the last writings of the New Testament.
I believe in God, the Father Almighty,
the Creator of
heaven and earth,
and in Jesus Christ, His only Son, our Lord:
Who was conceived of the Holy Spirit,
born of the
suffered under Pontius Pilate,
was crucified, died,
and was buried.
He descended into hell. [see Calvin]
The third day He arose again from the dead.
He ascended into heaven
and sits at the right hand of
God the Father Almighty,
whence He shall come to judge the living and the
I believe in the Holy Spirit, the holy *catholic
the communion of saints,
the forgiveness of
the resurrection of the body,
and life everlasting.
*The word "catholic" refers not to the Roman
Catholic Church, but to the universal church of the Lord Jesus
2.The Nicene-Constantinopolitan Creed
I believe in One God,
the Father Almighty,
Maker of Heaven and Earth,
and of all things visible and invisible.
And in one Lord Jesus Christ,
the Son of God,
begotten of the Father before all ages;
Light of Light;
True God of True
begotten, not made;
of one essence with the Father,
by Whom all
things were made;
Who for us men and for our salvation
came down from
and was incarnate of the Holy Spirit and the Virgin Mary,
And He was crucified for us under Pontius Pilate,
suffered, and was buried.
And the third day He arose again,
and ascended into Heaven,
and sits at the right hand of
and He shall come again with glory to judge the living and the
Whose Kingdom shall have no end.
And in the Holy Spirit, the Lord, the Giver of Life,
Who proceeds from
Who with the Father and the Son together is worshipped and
Who spoke by the prophets.
And in One, Holy, Catholic, and Apostolic Church.
I acknowledge one baptism for the remission of sins.
I look for the
resurrection of the dead,
and the life of the world to come.
3. Methodist 25 Articles of Religion (1738, John Wesley)
The Twenty-five Articles of Religion of the Methodist Church, from the
Discipline of 1808 collated against Wesley's original text in The
Sunday Service of the Methodists, 1784
Two of the articles (7, 8) also clearly reject Pelagianism, a heresy contending
that human beings are capable of choosing God by exercising their own inherent
free will without the necessity of grace. While Wesley never held this position
in even a modified form, he was often accused of doing so by Calvinists
promoting total predestination and the lack of any role for the human
will in salvation (see Article 8 and TULIP Calvinism Compared with Wesleyan Perspectives).
Article 1—Of Faith in the Holy Trinity
There is but one living and true God, everlasting, without body or parts, of
infinite power, wisdom, and goodness; the maker and preserver of all things,
both visible and invisible. And in unity of this Godhead there are three
persons, of one substance, power, and eternity—the Father, the Son, and the Holy
Article 2—Of the Word, or Son of God, Who Was Made Very Man
The Son, who is the Word of the Father, the very and eternal God, of one
substance with the Father, took man's nature in the womb of the blessed Virgin;
so that two whole and perfect natures, that is to say, the Godhead and Manhood,
were joined together in one person, never to be divided; whereof is one Christ,
very God and very Man, who truly suffered, was crucified, dead, and buried, to
reconcile his Father to us, and to be a sacrifice, not only for original guilt,
but also for actual sins of men.
Article 3—Of the Resurrection of Christ
Christ did truly rise again from the dead, and took again his body, with all
things appertaining to the perfection of man's nature, wherewith he ascended
into heaven, and there sitteth until he return to judge all men at the last
Article 4—Of the Holy Ghost
The Holy Ghost, proceeding from the Father and the Son, is of one substance,
majesty, and glory with the Father and the Son, very and eternal God.
Article 5—Of the Sufficiency of the Holy Scriptures for Salvation
The Holy Scripture containeth all things necessary to salvation; so that
whatsoever is not read therein, nor may be proved thereby, is not to be required
of any man that it should be believed as an article of faith, or be thought
requisite or necessary to salvation. In the name of the Holy Scripture we do
understand those canonical books of the Old and New Testament of whose authority
was never any doubt in the church. The names of the canonical books are:
Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, Deuteronomy, Joshua, Judges, Ruth, The
First Book of Samuel, The Second Book of Samuel, The First Book of Kings, The
Second Book of Kings, The First Book of Chronicles, The Second Book of
Chronicles, The Book of Ezra, The Book of Nehemiah, The Book of Esther, The Book
of Job, The Psalms, The Proverbs, Ecclesiastes or the Preacher, Cantica or Songs
of Solomon, Four Prophets the Greater, Twelve Prophets the Less.
All the books of the New Testament, as they are commonly received, we do
receive and account canonical.
Article 6—Of the Old Testament
The Old Testament is not contrary to the New; for both in the Old and New
Testament everlasting life is offered to mankind by Christ, who is the only
Mediator between God and man, being both God and Man. Wherefore they are not to
be heard who feign that the old fathers did look only for transitory promises.
Although the law given from God by Moses as touching ceremonies and rites doth
not bind Christians, nor ought the civil precepts thereof of necessity be
received in any commonwealth; yet notwithstanding, no Christian whatsoever is
free from the obedience of the commandments which are called moral.
Article 7—Of Original or Birth Sin
Original sin standeth not in the following of Adam (as the Pelagians do
vainly talk), but it is the corruption of the nature of every man, that
naturally is engendered of the offspring of Adam, whereby man is very far gone
from original righteousness, and of his own nature inclined to evil, and that
The condition of man after the fall of Adam is such that he cannot turn and
prepare himself, by his own natural strength and works, to faith, and calling
upon God; wherefore we have no power to do good works, pleasant and acceptable
to God, without the grace of God by Christ preventing us, that we may have a
good will, and working with us, when we have that good will.
Article 9—Of the Justification of Man
We are accounted righteous before God only for the merit of our Lord and
Saviour Jesus Christ, by faith, and not for our own works or deservings.
Wherefore, that we are justified by faith, only, is a most wholesome doctrine,
and very full of comfort.
Article 10—Of Good Works
Although good works, which are the fruits of faith, and follow after
justification, cannot put away our sins, and endure the severity of God's
judgment; yet are they pleasing and acceptable to God in Christ, and spring out
of a true and lively faith, insomuch that by them a lively faith may be as
evidently known as a tree is discerned by its fruit.
Article 11—Of Works of Supererogation
Voluntary works—besides, over and above God's commandments—which they call
works of supererogation, cannot be taught without arrogancy and impiety. For by
them men do declare that they do not only render unto God as much as they are
bound to do, but that they do more for his sake than of bounden duty is
required; whereas Christ saith plainly: When you have done all that is commanded
you, say, We are unprofitable servants.
Article 12—Of Sin After Justification
Not every sin willingly committed after justification is the sin against the
Holy Ghost, and unpardonable. Wherefore, the grant of repentance is not to be
denied to such as fall into sin after justification. After we have received the
Holy Ghost, we may depart from grace given, and fall into sin, and, by the grace
of God, rise again and amend our lives. And therefore they are to be condemned
who say they can no more sin as long as they live here; or deny the place of
forgiveness to such as truly repent.
Article 13—Of the Church
The visible church of Christ is a congregation of faithful men in which the
pure Word of God is preached, and the Sacraments duly administered according to
Christ's ordinance, in all those things that of necessity are requisite to the
Article 14—Of Purgatory
The Romish doctrine concerning purgatory, pardon, worshiping, and adoration,
as well of images as of relics, and also invocation of saints, is a fond thing,
vainly invented, and grounded upon no warrant of Scripture, but repugnant to the
Word of God.
Article 15—Of Speaking in the Congregation in Such a Tongue as the People
It is a thing plainly repugnant to the Word of God, and the custom of the
primitive church, to have public prayer in the church, or to minister the
Sacraments, in a tongue not understood by the people.
Article 16—Of the Sacraments
Sacraments ordained of Christ are not only badges or tokens of Christian
men's profession, but rather they are certain signs of grace, and God's good
will toward us, by which he doth work invisibly in us, and doth not only
quicken, but also strengthen and confirm, our faith in him.
There are two Sacraments ordained of Christ our Lord in the Gospel; that is
to say, Baptism and the Supper of the Lord.
Those five commonly called sacraments, that is to say, confirmation, penance,
orders, matrimony, and extreme unction, are not to be counted for Sacraments of
the Gospel; being such as have partly grown out of the corrupt following of the
apostles, and partly are states of life allowed in the Scriptures, but yet have
not the like nature of Baptism and the Lord's Supper, because they have not any
visible sign or ceremony ordained of God.
The Sacraments were not ordained of Christ to be gazed upon, or to be carried
about; but that we should duly use them. And in such only as worthily receive
the same, they have a wholesome effect or operation; but they that receive them
unworthily, purchase to themselves condemnation, as St. Paul saith.
Article 17—Of Baptism
Baptism is not only a sign of profession and mark of difference whereby
Christians are distinguished from others that are not baptized; but it is also a
sign of regeneration or the new birth. The Baptism of young children is to be
retained in the Church.
Article 18—Of the Lord's Supper
The Supper of the Lord is not only a sign of the love that Christians ought
to have among themselves one to another, but rather is a sacrament of our
redemption by Christ's death; insomuch that, to such as rightly, worthily, and
with faith receive the same, the bread which we break is a partaking of the body
of Christ; and likewise the cup of blessing is a partaking of the blood of
Transubstantiation, or the change of the substance of bread and wine in the
Supper of our Lord, cannot be proved by Holy Writ, but is repugnant to the plain
words of Scripture, overthroweth the nature of a sacrament, and hath given
occasion to many superstitions.
The body of Christ is given, taken, and eaten in the Supper, only after a
heavenly and spiritual manner. And the mean whereby the body of Christ is
received and eaten in the Supper is faith. The Sacrament of the Lord's Supper
was not by Christ's ordinance reserved, carried about, lifted up, or
Article 19—Of Both Kinds
The cup of the Lord is not to be denied to the lay people; for both the parts
of the Lord's Supper, by Christ's ordinance and commandment, ought to be
administered to all Christians alike.
Article 20—Of the One Oblation of Christ, Finished upon the Cross
The offering of Christ, once made, is that perfect redemption, propitiation,
and satisfaction for all the sins of the whole world, both original and actual;
and there is none other satisfaction for sin but that alone. Wherefore the
sacrifice of masses, in the which it is commonly said that the priest doth offer
Christ for the quick and the dead, to have remission of pain or guilt, is a
blasphemous fable and dangerous deceit.
Article 21—Of the Marriage of Ministers
The ministers of Christ are not commanded by God's law either to vow the
estate of single life, or to abstain from marriage; therefore it is lawful for
them, as for all other Christians, to marry at their own discretion, as they
shall judge the same to serve best to godliness.
Article 22—Of the Rites and Ceremonies of Churches
It is not necessary that rites and ceremonies should in all places be the
same, or exactly alike; for they have been always different, and may be changed
according to the diversity of countries, times, and men's manners, so that
nothing be ordained against God's Word. Whosoever, through his private judgment,
willingly and purposely doth openly break the rites and ceremonies of the church
to which he belongs, which are not repugnant to the Word of God, and are
ordained and approved by common authority, ought to be rebuked openly, that
others may fear to do the like, as one that offendeth against the common order
of the church, and woundeth the consciences of weak brethren.
Every particular church may ordain, change, or abolish rites and ceremonies,
so that all things may be done to edification.
Article 23—Of the Rulers of the United States of
The President, the Congress, the general assemblies, the governors, and the
councils of state, as the delegates of the people, are the rulers of the United
States of America, according to the division of power made to them by the
Constitution of the United States and by the constitutions of their respective
states. And the said states are a sovereign and independent nation, and ought
not to be subject to any foreign jurisdiction.
Article 24—Of Christian Men's Goods
The riches and goods of Christians are not common as touching the right,
title, and possession of the same, as some do falsely boast. Notwithstanding,
every man ought, of such things as he possesseth, liberally to give alms to the
poor, according to his ability.
Article 25—Of a Christian Man's Oath
As we confess that vain and rash swearing is forbidden Christian men by our
Lord Jesus Christ and James his apostle, so we judge that the Christian religion
doth not prohibit, but that a man may swear when the magistrate requireth, in a
cause of faith and charity, so it be done according to the prophet's teaching,
in justice, judgment, and truth.
Sanctification is that renewal of our fallen nature by the Holy Ghost,
received through faith in Jesus Christ, whose blood of atonement cleanseth from
all sin; whereby we are not only delivered from the guilt of sin, but are washed
from its pollution, saved from its power, and are enabled, through grace, to
love God with all our hearts and to walk in his holy commandments blameless.
It is the duty of all Christians, and especially of all Christian ministers,
to observe and obey the laws and commands of the governing or supreme authority
of the country of which they are citizens or subjects or in which they reside,
and to use all laudable means to encourage and enjoin obedience to the powers
39 Articles of religion(1571: Church of England)
- A Contemporary Version of the 39
Articles of Religion - from An
English Prayer Book
- with permission from the Church
- PART I: The Substance of the Faith (Articles 1-5)
1. Faith in the Holy Trinity
There is only one living and true
God, who is eternal and without body, indivisible and invulnerable. He is of
infinite power, wisdom, and goodness. He is the maker and preserver of all
things both visible and invisible. Within the unity of the Godhead there are
three persons who are of one substance, power, and eternity -- the Father, the
Son, and the Holy Spirit. There is only one living and true God. His existence
is everlasting, without beginning or end. He is a spiritual being, not limited
by a body. He is free from bodily desires and impulses His power, wisdom, and
goodness, are infinite. Of this one true God there are three persons: Father,
Son and Holy Spirit. These three persons are identical in substance, power and
2. The Word, or Son of God, who became truly man
The Son, who is
the Word of the Father, was begotten from eternity of the Father, and is the
true and eternal God, of one substance with the Father. He took man's nature in
the womb of the blessed virgin Mary, of her substance, in such as way that two
whole and perfect natures, the Godhead and manhood, were joined together in one
person, never to be divided. Of these two natures, is the one Christ, true God
and true man. He truly suffered, was crucified, died, and was buried, to
reconcile the Father to us (restore a right relationship between the Father and
us) and to be a sacrifice, not only for original guilt but also for all actual
sins of men.
3. The descent of Christ into the realm of the dead
Just as Christ
died for us and buried, so also it is to be believed that he descended into the
realm of the dead.
4. The resurrection of Christ
Christ truly rose again from death
and took again his body, with flesh, bones, and all that belongs to the
completeness of man's nature. In this body he ascended into heaven, where he is
now seated until the last day, when he will return to judge all men.
5. The Holy Spirit
The Holy Spirit proceeds from the Father and
the Son. He is of one substance, majesty, and glory with the Father and the Son,
true and eternal God.
PART II: The Rule of Faith (Articles 6-8)
6. The Sufficiency of Scripture for salvation
contains all things necessary for salvation. Consequently whatever is not read
in Scripture nor can be proved from Scripture cannot be demanded from any person
to believe it as an article of the faith. Nor is any such thing to be thought
necessary or required for salvation. By holy scripture is meant those canonical
books of the Old and New Testaments whose authority has never been doubted
within the church. Listing of 66 canonical books of the Old and New
7. The Old Testament
The Old Testament is not contrary to the New,
for in both the Old and New Testaments eternal life is offered to mankind
through Christ. Hence he, being both God and man, is the only mediator between
God and man. Those who pretend that the Patriarchs only looked for transitory
promises must not be listened to. Although the law given by God through Moses is
not binding on Christians as far as its forms of worship and ritual are
concerned and the civil regulations are not binding on any nation state,
nevertheless no Christian is free to disobey those commandments which may be
classified as moral.
8. Of the Three Creeds
The Nicene Creed, and that which is
commonly called the Apostles' Creed, ought thoroughly to be received and
believed: for they may be proved by most certain warrants of Holy Scripture.
(Changed in American BCP) The three creeds, the Nicene Creed, Athanasian Creed,
and that known as the Apostles' Creed, ought to be wholeheartedly accepted and
believed. This is because their contents may be proved by definite statements of
PART III The Life of Faith (Articles 9-18)
A. Its Commencement (Articles 9-14)
9. Original or Birth-sin
Original sin is not found merely in the
following of Adam's example (as the Pelagians foolishly say). It is rather to be
seen in the fault and corruption which is found in the nature of every person
who is naturally descended from Adam. The consequence of this is that man is far
gone from his original state of righteousness. In his own nature he is
predisposed to evil, the sinful nature in man always desiring to behave in a
manner contrary to the Spirit. In every person born into this world there is
fund this predisposition which rightly deserves God's anger and condemnation.
This infection within man's nature persists even within those who are
regenerate. This desire of the sinful nature, which in Greek is called fronema
sarkos and is variously translated the wisdom or sensuality or affection or
desire of the sinful nature, is not under control of God's law. Although there
is no condemnation for those that believe and are baptized, nevertheless the
apostle states that any such desire is sinful.
10. Free Will
The condition of man since the fall of Adam is such
that he cannot turn and prepare himself by his own natural strength and good
works for faith and for calling upon the name of the Lord. Hence we have no
power to do good works which are pleasing and acceptable to God, unless the
grace of God through Christ goes before us so that we may have a good will, and
continues to work with us after we are given that good will.
11. The justification of man
We are accounted righteous before God
solely on account of the merit of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ through faith
and not on account of our own good works or of what we deserve. Consequently the
teaching that we are justified by faith alone is a most wholesome and comforting
doctrine. This is taught more fully in the homily on Justification.
12. Good works
Although good works, which are the fruits of faith
and follow on after justification, can never atone for our sins or face the
strict justice of God's judgment, they are nevertheless pleasing and acceptable
to God in Christ and necessarily spring from a true and living faith. Thus a
living faith is as plainly known by its good works as a tree is known by its
13. Works before justification
Works done before receiving the
grace of Christ and the inspiration of his Spirit are not pleasing to God. This
is because they do not spring out of faith in Jesus Christ. Nor do they make
people fit to receive grace or (as the schoolmen say) to deserve grace of
congruity. On the contrary, because they are not done as God has willed and
commanded that they should be done, it is undoubtedly the case that they have
the nature of sin.
14. Works of supererogation
The concept of voluntary works
besides, over and above God's commandments, which are sometimes called works of
supererogation, cannot be taught without arrogance and impiety. By them men do
declare not only that they render to God their proper duty but that they
actually do more than their duty. But Christ says: 'So you also, when you after
done everything you were told to do, should say, "We are unprofitable servants."
B. Its Course (15-18)
15. Of Christ alone without sin
Christ, who truly took our human nature, was made like us in every respect
except that of sin. From this he was clearly free in both body and spirit. He
came to be the Lamb without blemish who, by the sacrifice of himself once made,
should take away the sins of the world. Sin, as St. John says, was not in him.
But all the rest of us, even though baptized and born again in Christ, still
offend in many ways. if we say we have no sin, we deceive ourselves and the
truth is not in us.
16. Sin after baptism
Not every sin knowingly committed after
baptism is sin against the Holy Spirit and unforgivable. Therefore the gift of
repentance is not to be declared impossible for those who fall into sin after
baptism. After we have received the Holy Spirit we may depart from the grace
given to us and fall into sin, and we may also by the grace of God return and
amend our lives. therefore those who say that they are incapable of sinning any
more in this life are to be condemned, as are those who deny the opportunity of
forgiveness to those who truly repent.
17. Predestination and election
Predestination to life is the
eternal purpose of God, whereby (before the foundations of the world were laid)
he has consistently decreed by his counsel which is hidden from us to deliver
from curse and damnation those whom he has chosen in Christ out of mankind and
to bring them through Christ to eternal salvation as vessels made for honor.
Hence those granted such an excellent benefit by God are called according to
God's purpose by his Spirit working at the appropriate time. By grace they obey
the calling; they are freely justified, are made sons of God by adoption, are
made like the image of his only-begotten Son Jesus Christ, they walk faithfully
in good works and at the last by God's mercy attain eternal happiness.
The reverent consideration of this subject of predestination and of our
election in Christ is full of sweet, pleasant, and inexpressible comfort to the
godly and to those who feel within themselves the working of the Spirit of
Christ, putting to death the deeds of the sinful and earthly nature and lifting
their minds up to high and heavenly things. This consideration establishes and
confirms their belief in the eternal salvation o be enjoyed through Christ and
kindles a fervent love towards God. But for inquisitive and unspiritual persons
who lack the Spirit of Christ to have the sentence of God's predestination
continually before their eyes is a dangerous snare which the devil uses to drive
them either into desperation or into recklessly immoral living (a state no less
perilous than desperation). Furthermore we need to receive God's promises in the
manner in which they are generally set out to us in holy Scripture, and in our
actions we need to follow that will of God which is clearly declared to us in
the Word of God.
18. Obtaining salvation only by the name of Christ
presume to say that every person shall be saved by the rule of life, religion,
or sect that he professes, provided he makes diligent efforts to live by that
rule and the light of nature, must be regarded as accursed. For holy Scripture
declares to us that it is only in the name of Jesus Christ that men must be
PART IV: THE HOUSEHOLD OF FAITH (Articles 19-39)
A. The Church (19-22)
The visible church of Christ is a congregation of believers in
which the pure Word of God is preached and in which the sacraments are rightly
administered according to Christ's command in all those matters that are
necessary for proper administration. As the churches of Jerusalem, Alexandria,
and Antioch have erred, so also the church of Rome has erred, not only in their
practice and forms of worship but also in matters of faith.
20. The authority of the church
The church has authority to decree
forms of worship and ceremonies and to decide in controversies concerning the
faith. However, it is not lawful for the church to order anything contrary to
God's written Word. Nor may it expound one passage of Scripture so that it
contradicts another passage. So, although the church is a witness and guardian
to holy Scripture, it must not decree anything contrary to Scripture, nor is it
to enforce belief in anything additional to Scripture as essential to salvation.
21. The authority of general councils
[The Twenty-first of the
former Articles is omitted; because it is partly of a local and civil nature,
and is provided for, as to the remaining parts of it, in other Articles] The
original 1571, 1662 text of this Article, omitted in the version of 1801, reads
as follows: "General Councils may not be gathered together without the
commandment and will of princes. And when they be gathered together, (forasmuch
as they be an assembly of men, whereof of all not be governed with the Spirit
and Word of God,) they may err, and sometimes have erred, even in things
pertaining unto God. Wherefore things ordained by them as necessary to
salvation have neither strength nor authority, unless it may be declared that
they be taken out of holy Scripture.
The Roman doctrine concerning purgatory, pardons,
worshipping, and adoration (both of images and of relics), and the invocation of
saints is a futile thing foolishly conceived and grounded on no evidence of
Scripture. On the contrary this teaching is repugnant to the Word of God.
B. Ministry (23-24)
23. Ministering in the congregation
It is not right for any man to take upon himself the office of public
preaching or of administering the sacraments in the congregation before he has
been lawfully called and sent to perform these tasks. The lawfully called and
sent are those who have been chosen and called to this work by men who have had
a public authority given to them in the congregation to call and send such
ministers into the Lord's vineyard.
24. Speaking in the congregation in a language that people understand
It is plainly repugnant to the Word of God and to the custom of the early
church for public prayer or the administration of the sacraments in a language
not understood by the people.
C. The Sacraments (25-31)
The sacraments instituted by Christ are not only badges
or tokens of the profession of Christians but are also sure witnesses and
effectual signs of God's grace and good will towards us. Through them he works
invisibly within us, both bringing to life and also strengthening and confirming
our faith in him. There are two sacraments instituted by Christ our Lord in the
Gospel-Baptism and the Lord's Supper. The five that are commonly called
sacraments (confirmation, penance, ordination, marriage, and extreme unction)
are not to be regarded as Gospel sacraments. This is because they are either a
corruption of apostolic practice or states of life as allowed in the Scriptures.
They are not of same nature as the sacraments of Baptism and the Lord's Supper
since they do not have any visible sign or ceremony instituted by God. The
sacraments were not instituted by Christ to be gazed at or carried about but to
be used properly. It is only in those who receive them worthily that they have a
beneficial effect or operation. As Paul the apostle says, those who receive them
in an unworthy manner bring condemnation upon themselves.
26. The sacraments are not rendered ineffectual by the unworthiness of the
Although in the visible church the evil are always mingled with
the good and sometimes evil people possess the highest rank in the ministry of
the Word and sacraments, nevertheless since they do not do these things in their
own name but in Christ's and minister by his commission and authority, we may
use their ministry both in hearing God's Word and in receiving the sacraments.
The effect of Christ's institution is not taken away by the wickedness of these
people, nor is the grace of God's gifts diminished, so long as the sacraments
are received by faith and rightly. The sacraments are effectual because of
Christ's institution and promise, even though they may be administered by evil
men. Nevertheless, it belongs to the discipline of the church that investigation
be made into evil ministers. Those who are accused by witnesses having knowledge
of their offenses and who in the end are justly found guilty, should be
Baptism is not only a sign of profession and a mark of
difference by which Christians are distinguished from those who are not
baptized. It is also a sign of regeneration or new birth, through which, as
through an instrument, those who receive baptism in the right manner are grafted
into the church, the promises of the forgiveness of sin and of our adoption as
sons of God by the Holy Spirit are visibly signed and sealed, faith is
confirmed, and grace is increased by virtue of prayer to God. The baptism of
young children is undoubtedly to be retained in the church as that which agrees
best with Christ's institution.
28. Of the Lord's Supper
The Supper of the Lord is not only a sign
of the mutual love that Christians ought to have among themselves. Rather, it is
a sacrament of our redemption through Christ's death. To those who rightly,
worthily, and with faith receive it, the bread which we break is a partaking of
the body of Christ, and similarly the cup of blessing is a partaking of the
blood of Christ. Transubstantiation (the change of the substance of the bread
and wine) in the Supper of the Lord cannot be proved from holy Scripture, but is
repugnant to the plain teaching of Scripture. It overthrows the nature of a
sacrament and has given rise to many superstitions. The body of Christ is given,
taken, and eaten in the Supper only in a heavenly and spiritual manner. The
means by which the body of Christ is received and eaten in the Supper is by
29. The wicked who partake of the Lord's Supper do not eat the body of
The wicked and those who lack a living faith, although they
physically and visibly 'press with their teeth' (as St. Augustine says) the
sacrament of the body and blood of Christ, nevertheless are in no way partakers
of Christ. Rather, by eating and drinking the sign or sacrament of so great a
thing, they bring condemnation upon themselves.
30. Reception in both kinds
The cup of the Lord is not to be
denied to the laity. For by Christ's institution and commandment both parts of
the Lord's sacrament ought to be administered to all Christian people alike.
31. The oblation of Christ finished upon the cross
The offering of
Christ made once is the perfect redemption, propitiation, and satisfaction for
all the sins of the whole world, both original and actual. There is no other
satisfaction for sin but this alone. Consequently, the sacrifices of masses, in
which it was commonly said that the priest offered Christ for the living and
dead so as to gain remission of pain or guilt, were blasphemous fables and
D. Discipline (32-36)
32. Marriage of Priests
It is not
commanded by any decree of God that bishops, presbyters, or deacons take a vow
of celibacy or abstain from marriage. So it is lawful for them, as for all other
Christians, to marry at their own discretion when they judge that this will
33. The excommunicated: how they are to be avoided
Any person who
has openly been denounced by the church and justly cut off from its fellowship
and excommunicated is to be regarded by the whole body of the faithful as a
'pagan and swindler' until he is openly reconciled by repentance and received
back into the church by a judge who has the necessary authority in such matters.
34. The customs of the church
It is not necessary that customs and
forms of worship be exactly the same everywhere. Throughout history they have
differed. They may be altered according to the differing nations, times, and
habits o people provided that nothing is commanded contrary to God's Word.
Whoever by his own private judgment openly, willingly, and deliberately breaks
those customs and forms of worship of the church which do not contradict the
Word of God and are approved by common authority, is to be openly rebuked. This
is so that others will be afraid to act similarly, and in so doing offend
against the common order of the church, to undermine the authority of the
state's representative and to wound the consciences of weak Christians. Every
particular or national church has authority to command, change, or abolish the
ceremonies or forms of worship of the church which are appointed by man's
authority provided that every thing is done for the building up of Christian
35 The Homilies
The second Book of Homilies contains godly and
wholesome teaching which is necessary for these times, as does the first book of
Homilies published during the reign of Edward VI. We therefore judge that they
ought to be read diligently and distinctly in the churches by the ministers so
that they may be understood by the people.
36. The consecration of bishops and ministers
The Book of
Consecration of Bishops, and Ordering of Priests and Deacons, as set forth by
the General Convention of this Church in 1792, contains all things necessary to
such Consecration and Ordering; neither has it any thing that of itself, is
superstitious and ungodly. And, therefore, whosoever are consecrated or ordered
according to said Form, we decree all such to be rightly, orderly, and lawfully
consecrated and ordered.
The original 1571, 1662 text of this Article reads as follows: "The book
for the consecration of archbishops and bishops and for ordaining presbyters and
deacons, published in the time of Edward VI and confirmed at the same time by
the authority of Parliament, contains all things necessary to such consecration
and ordination. Nor does it contain anything which of itself is superstitious
and ungodly. Therefore whoever is consecrated or ordained according to the
services of that book, since the second year of Edward VI to the present time,
and whoever will be consecrated and ordained according to those services in the
future, we declare to be rightly, duly and lawfully consecrated and
E. Church-State Relations (37-39)
37. The state and its civil
The power of the Civil Magistrate extends to all men, as
well as Clergy as Laity, in all things temporal; but has no authority in things
purely spiritual. And we hold it to be the duty of all men who are professors
of the Gospel, to pay respectful obedience to the Civil authority, regularly and
The original 1571, 1662 text of this article reads as follows: The
sovereign has the chief power in the realm of England and his other
possessions. The supreme government of all in this realm, whatever their
station, whether ecclesiastical or civil, and in all matters, belongs to him and
is not, nor ought to be, subject to any foreign jurisdiction.
- When we attribute to the sovereign the chief government (a title
which seems to have offended some slanderous persons) we do not grant our rulers
the ministry of either God's Word or of the sacraments. This is also made clear
in the Injunctions published by Queen Elizabeth I. By this we acknowledge only
the prerogative which we see in holy Scripture God has given to all godly
rulers. They should rule all people committed to their charge by God, whatever
their station or rank, whether ecclesiastical or secular, and restrain with the
civil power those who are stubborn or practice evil.
- The bishop of Rome has no jurisdiction in this realm of England.
- The laws of the realm may punish Christian people with death for
heinous and grave offenses.
It is lawful for Christian men at the
command of the state to carry weapons and serve in wars.
38. Private Property
Contrary to what some Anabaptists claim, the
wealth and possessions of Christians are not common, as far as the right, title,
and possession of them is concerned. Nevertheless, everyone ought to give freely
to the poor from what he possess, according to his means.
39. A Christian's Oath
We believe that the vain and rash swearing
of oaths is forbidden to Christians by our Lord Jesus Christ and St. James.
However, we judge that the Christian faith does not prohibit the swearing of an
oath when the state requires it if in a cause where the faithfulness and love
justify it, and according to the prophet Jeremiah's teaching, in justice,
judgment and truth.
The Augsburg Confession (1530):
The Augsburg Confession
is the first of the great Protestant Confessions. All orthodox Lutheran church
bodies base their teachings upon this treatise because they believe that it is a
faithful to Word of God.
In 1530, Charles V, Emperor of the Holy Roman Empire, called together the
princes and cities of his german territories in a Diet at Augsburg. He sought
unity among them to fend of the attacks of Turkish armies in Eastern Austria. He
called upon the Lutheran nobility to explain their religious convictions, with
the hope that the controversy swirling around the challange of the Reformation
might be resolved. To this end, Philip Melanchthon, a close friend of Martin
Luther and a Professor of New Testament at Wittenberg University, was called
upon to draft a common confession for the Lutheran Lords and Free Territories.
The resulting document, the Augsburg Confession was presented to the emperor on
June 25, 1530.
The confession was presented to Charles V in both Latin and German. Minor
differences between the two texts exist. Some editions published today print
english translations from both. Our texts come from an edition published in
1930s by the Lutheran Church -- Missouri Synod, under the title: Concordia
Of the Holy Scripture
I. Although the light of nature, and the works of creation and providence do
so far manifest the goodness, wisdom, and power of God, as to leave men
unexcusable; yet are they not
sufficient to give that knowledge of God, and of His will, which is necessary
unto salvation. Therefore it pleased
the Lord, at sundry times, and in divers manners, to reveal Himself, and to
declare that His will unto His Church; and afterwards for the better preserving and
propagating of the truth, and for the more sure establishment and comfort of the
Church against the corruption of the flesh, and the malice of Satan and of the
world, to commit the same wholly unto writing; which makes the Holy Scripture to be most
necessary; those former ways of God's
revealing His will unto His people being now ceased.
II. Under the name of Holy Scripture, or the Word of God written, are now
contained all the books of the Old and New Testament, which are these: Of the
Old Testament: Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, Deuteronomy, Joshua, Judges,
Ruth, I Samuel, II Samuel, I Kings, II Kings, I Chronicles, II Chronicles, Ezra,
Nehemiah, Esther, Job, Psalms, Proverbs, Ecclesiastes, The Song of Songs,
Isaiah, Jeremiah, Lamentations, Ezekiel, Daniel, Hosea, Joel, Amos, Obadiah,
Jonah, Micah, Nahum, Habakkuk, Zephaniah, Haggai, Zechariah, Malachi. Of the New
Testament: The Gospels according to Matthew, Mark, Luke, John, The Acts of the
Apostles, Paul's Epistles to the Romans, Corinthians I, Corinthians II,
Galatians, Ephesians, Philippians, Colossians, Thessalonians I , Thessalonians
II , To Timothy I , To Timothy II, To Titus, To Philemon, The Epistle to the
Hebrews, The Epistle of James, The first and second Epistles of Peter, The
first, second, and third Epistles of John, The Epistle of Jude, The Revelation
of John. All which are given by inspiration of God to be the rule of faith and
III. The books commonly called Apocrypha, not being of divine inspiration,
are no part of the canon of the Scripture, and therefore are of no authority in
the Church of God, nor to be any otherwise approved, or made use of, than other
IV. The authority of the Holy Scripture, for which it ought to be believed,
and obeyed, depends not upon the testimony of any man, or Church; but wholly
upon God (who is truth itself) the author thereof: and therefore it is to be
received, because it is the Word of God.
V. We may be moved and induced by the testimony of the Church to an high and
reverent esteem of the Holy Scripture. And the heavenliness of the matter, the efficacy
of the doctrine, the majesty of the style, the consent of all the parts, the
scope of the whole (which is, to give all glory to God), the full discovery it
makes of the only way of man's salvation, the many other incomparable
excellencies, and the entire perfection thereof, are arguments whereby it does
abundantly evidence itself to be the Word of God: yet notwithstanding, our full
persuasion and assurance of the infallible truth and divine authority thereof,
is from the inward work of the Holy Spirit bearing witness by and with the Word
in our hearts.
VI. The whole counsel of God concerning all things necessary for His own
glory, man's salvation, faith and life, is either expressly set down in
Scripture, or by good and necessary consequence may be deduced from Scripture:
unto which nothing at any time is to be added, whether by new revelations of the
Spirit, or traditions of men.
Nevertheless, we acknowledge the inward illumination of the Spirit of God to be
necessary for the saving understanding of such things as are revealed in the
Word: and that there are some
circumstances concerning the worship of God, and government of the Church,
common to human actions and societies, which are to be ordered by the light of
nature, and Christian prudence, according to the general rules of the Word,
which are always to be observed.
VII. All things in Scripture are not alike plain in themselves, nor alike
clear unto all: yet those things
which are necessary to be known, believed, and observed for salvation are so
clearly propounded, and opened in some place of Scripture or other, that not
only the learned, but the unlearned, in a due use of the ordinary means, may
attain unto a sufficient understanding of them.
VIII. The Old Testament in Hebrew (which was the native language of the
people of God of old), and the New Testament in Greek (which, at the time of the
writing of it, was most generally known to the nations), being immediately
inspired by God, and, by His singular care and providence, kept pure in all
ages, are therefore authentical; so
as, in all controversies of religion, the Church is finally to appeal unto
them. But, because these original
tongues are not known to all the people of God, who have right unto, and
interest in the Scriptures, and are commanded, in the fear of God, to read and
search them, therefore they are to
be translated in to the vulgar language of every nation unto which they come, that, the Word of God dwelling
plentifully in all, they may worship Him in an acceptable manner; and, through patience and comfort of the
Scriptures, may have hope.
IX. The infallible rule of interpretation of Scripture is the Scripture
itself: and therefore, when there is a question about the true and full sense of
any Scripture (which is not manifold, but one), it must be searched and known by
other places that speak more clearly.
X. The supreme judge by which all controversies of religion are to be
determined, and all decrees of councils, opinions of ancient writers, doctrines
of men, and private spirits, are to be examined, and in whose sentence we are to
rest, can be no other but the Holy Spirit speaking in the Scripture
---to be continued---
6.The New Hampshire Baptist Confession of 1833
This Confession was drawn up by the Rev. John Newton Brown, D. D., of New
Hampshire about 1833, and was adopted by the New Hampshire Convention, and
widely accepted by Baptists, especially in the Northern and Western States, as a
clear and concise statement of their faith, in harmony with the doctrines of
older confessions, but expressed in milder form. The text is taken from the
Baptist Church Manual, published by the American Baptist Publication Society,
Declaration of Faith
1. Of the Scriptures
We believe that the Holy Bible was written by men
divinely inspired, and is a perfect treasure of heavenly instruction 2 Tim.
3:16-17; 2 Pet. 1:21; 1 Sam. 23:2; Acts 1:16; 3:21; John 10:35; Luke 16:29-31;
Psa. 119:11; Rom. 3:1-2 that it has God for its author, salvation for its
end 2 Tim. 3:15; 1 Pet. 1:10-12; Acts 11:14; Rom. 1:16; Mark 16:16; John
5:38-39, and truth without any mixture of error for its matter Prov.
30:5-6; John 17:17; Rev. 22:18-19; Rom. 3:4 that it reveals the principles
by which God will judge us Rom. 2:12; John 12:47-48; 1 Cor. 4:3-4; Luke
10:10-16; 12:47-48 and therefore is, and shall remain to the end of the
world, the true center of Christian union Phil. 3:16; Eph. 4:3-6; Phil.
2:1-2; 1 Cor. 1:10; 1 Pet. 4:11, and the supreme standard by which all human
conduct, creeds, and opinions should be tried 1 John 4:1; Isa. 8:20; 1 Thess.
5:21; 2 Cor. 8:5; Acts 17:11; 1 John 4:6; Jude 3:5; Eph. 6:17; Psa. 119:59-60;
Chicago Statement on Biblical inerrancy
7.THE CHICAGO STATEMENT ON BIBLICAL INERRANCY
The authority of Scripture is a key issue for the
Christian Church in this and every age. Those who profess faith in Jesus Christ
as Lord and Savior are called to show the reality of their discipleship by
humbly and faithfully obeying God's written Word. To Stray from Scripture in
faith or conduct is disloyalty to our Master. Recognition of the total truth and
trustworthiness of Holy Scripture is essential to a full grasp and adequate
confession of its authority.
The following Statement affirms this inerrancy of Scripture afresh, making
clear our understanding of it and warning against its denial. We are persuaded
that to deny it is to set aside the witness of Jesus Christ and of the Holy
Spirit and to refuse that submission to the claims of God's own Word which marks
true Christian faith. We see it as our timely duty to make this affirmation in
the face of current lapses from the truth of inerrancy among our fellow
Christians and misunderstanding of this doctrine in the world at large.
This Statement consists of three parts: a Summary Statement, Articles of
Affirmation and Denial, and an accompanying Exposition*. It has been prepared in
the course of a three-day consultation in Chicago. Those who have signed the
Summary Statement and the Articles wish to affirm their own conviction as to the
inerrancy of Scripture and to encourage and challenge one another and all
Christians to growing appreciation and understanding of this doctrine. We
acknowledge the limitations of a document prepared in a brief, intensive
conference and do not propose that this Statement be given creedal weight. Yet
we rejoice in the deepening of our own convictions through our discussions
together, and we pray that the Statement we have signed may be used to the glory
of our God toward a new reformation of the Church in its faith, life, and
We offer this Statement in a spirit, not of contention, but of humility and
love, which we purpose by God's grace to maintain in any future dialogue arising
out of what we have said. We gladly acknowledge that many who deny the inerrancy
of Scripture do not display the consequences of this denial in the rest of their
belief and behavior, and we are conscious that we who confess this doctrine
often deny it in life by failing to bring our thoughts and deeds, our traditions
and habits, into true subjection to the divine Word.
We invite response to this statement from any who see reason to amend its
affirmations about Scripture by the light of Scripture itself, under whose
infallible authority we stand as we speak. We claim no personal infallibility
for the witness we bear, and for any help which enables us to strengthen this
testimony to God's Word we shall be grateful.
* The Exposition is not printed here but can be obtained by
writing us at the Oakland office: ICBI / P.O. Box 13261 / Oakland, CA 94661 /
A SHORT STATEMENT
1. God, who is Himself Truth and speaks truth only, has inspired Holy
Scripture in order thereby to reveal Himself to lost mankind through Jesus
Christ as Creator and Lord, Redeemer and Judge. Holy Scripture is God's witness
2. Holy Scripture, being God's own Word, written by men prepared and
superintended by His Spirit, is of infallible divine authority in all matters
upon which it touches: it is to be believed, as God's instruction, in all that
it affirms, obeyed, as God's command, in all that it requires; embraced, as
God's pledge, in all that it promises.
3. The Holy Spirit, Scripture's divine Author, both authenticates it to us by
His inward witness and opens our minds to understand its meaning.
4. Being wholly and verbally God-given, Scripture is without error or fault
in all its teaching, no less in what it states about God's acts in creation,
about the events of world history, and about its own literary origins under God,
than in its witness to God's saving grace in individual lives.
5. The authority of Scripture is inescapably impaired if this total divine
inerrancy is in any way limited or disregarded, or made relative to a view of
truth contrary to the Bible's own; and such lapses bring serious loss to both
the individual and the Church.
ARTICLES OF AFFIRMATION AND DENIAL
We affirm that the Holy Scriptures are to be received as the authoritative
Word of God.
We deny that the Scriptures receive their authority from the Church,
tradition, or any other human source.
We affirm that the Scriptures are the supreme written norm by which God binds
the conscience, and that the authority of the Church is subordinate to that of
We deny that Church creeds, councils, or declarations have authority greater
than or equal to the authority of the Bible.
We affirm that the written Word in its entirety is revelation given by
We deny that the Bible is merely a witness to revelation, or only becomes
revelation in encounter, or depends on the responses of men for its
We affirm that God who made mankind in His image has used language as a means
We deny that human language is so limited by our creatureliness that it is
rendered inadequate as a vehicle for divine revelation. We further deny that the
corruption of human culture and language through sin has thwarted God's work of
We affirm that God' s revelation in the Holy Scriptures was progressive.
We deny that later revelation, which may fulfill earlier revelation, ever
corrects or contradicts it. We further deny that any normative revelation has
been given since the completion of the New Testament writings.
We affirm that the whole of Scripture and all its parts, down to the very
words of the original, were given by divine inspiration.
We deny that the inspiration of Scripture can rightly be affirmed of the
whole without the parts, or of some parts but not the whole.
We affirm that inspiration was the work in which God by His Spirit, through
human writers, gave us His Word. The origin of Scripture is divine. The mode of
divine inspiration remains largely a mystery to us.
We deny that inspiration can be reduced to human insight, or to heightened
states of consciousness of any kind.
We affirm that God in His Work of inspiration utilized the distinctive
personalities and literary styles of the writers whom He had chosen and
We deny that God, in causing these writers to use the very words that He
chose, overrode their personalities.
We affirm that inspiration, though not conferring omniscience, guaranteed
true and trustworthy utterance on all matters of which the Biblical authors were
moved to speak and write.
We deny that the finitude or fallenness of these writers, by necessity or
otherwise, introduced distortion or falsehood into God's Word.
We affirm that inspiration, strictly speaking, applies only to the
autographic text of Scripture, which in the providence of God can be ascertained
from available manuscripts with great accuracy. We further affirm that copies
and translations of Scripture are the Word of God to the extent that they
faithfully represent the original.
We deny that any essential element of the Christian faith is affected by the
absence of the autographs. We further deny that this absence renders the
assertion of Biblical inerrancy invalid or irrelevant.
We affirm that Scripture, having been given by divine inspiration, is
infallible, so that, far from misleading us, it is true and reliable in all the
matters it addresses.
We deny that it is possible for the Bible to be at the same time infallible
and errant in its assertions. Infallibility and inerrancy may be distinguished,
but not separated.
We affirm that Scripture in its entirety is inerrant, being free from all
falsehood, fraud, or deceit.
We deny that Biblical infallibility and inerrancy are limited to spiritual,
religious, or redemptive themes, exclusive of assertions in the fields of
history and science. We further deny that scientific hypotheses about earth
history may properly be used to overturn the teaching of Scripture on creation
and the flood.
We affirm the propriety of using inerrancy as a theological term with
reference to the complete truthfulness of Scripture.
We deny that it is proper to evaluate Scripture according to standards of
truth and error that are alien to its usage or purpose. We further deny that
inerrancy is negated by Biblical phenomena such as a lack of modern technical
precision, irregularities of grammar or spelling, observational descriptions of
nature, the reporting of falsehoods, the use of hyperbole and round numbers, the
topical arrangement of material, variant selections of material in parallel
accounts, or the use of free citations.
We affirm the unity and internal consistency of Scripture.
We deny that alleged errors and discrepancies that have not yet been resolved
vitiate the truth claims of the Bible.
We affirm that the doctrine of inerrancy is grounded in the teaching of the
Bible about inspiration.
We deny that Jesus' teaching about Scripture may be dismissed by appeals to
accommodation or to any natural limitation of His humanity.
We affirm that the doctrine of inerrancy has been integral to the Church's
faith throughout its history.
We deny that inerrancy is a doctrine invented by Scholastic Protestantism, or
is a reactionary position postulated in response to negative higher
We affirm that the Holy Spirit bears witness to the Scriptures, assuring
believers of the truthfulness of God's written Word.
We deny that this witness of the Holy Spirit operates in isolation from or
We affirm that the text of Scripture is to be interpreted by
grammatico-historicaI exegesis, taking account of its literary forms and
devices, and that Scripture is to interpret Scripture.
We deny the legitimacy of any treatment of the text or quest for sources
lying behind it that leads to relativizing, dehistoricizlng, or discounting its
teaching, or rejecting its claims to authorship.
We affirm that a confession of the full authority, infallibility, and
inerrancy of Scripture is vital to a sound understanding of the whole of the
Christian faith. We further affirm that such confession should lead to
increasing conformity to the image of Christ.
We deny that such confession is necessary for salvation. However, we further
deny that inerrancy can be rejected without grave consequences both to the
individual and to the Church.
covenant was established by the the 3,700 representatives
during the world evangelism
150 countries) from July to 25th in July in 1974. The
draft of this covenant was
by John Stott who is a world wide known evangelist)
INTRODUCTION: We, members of the Church of Jesus Christ, from more than 150
nations, participants in the International Congress on World Evangelization at
Lausanne, praise God for his great salvation and rejoice in the fellowship he
has given us with himself and with each other. We are deeply stirred by what God
is doing in our day, moved to penitence by our failures and challenged by the
unfinished task of evangelization. We believe the gospel is God's good news for
the whole world, and we are determined by his grace to obey Christ's commission
to proclaim it to all humankind and to make disciples of every nation. We
desire, therefore, to affirm our faith and our resolve, and to make public our
1. The Purpose of God
We affirm our belief in the one
eternal God, Creator and Lord of the world, Father, Son and Holy Spirit, who
governs all things according to the purpose of his will. He has been calling out
from the world a people for himself, and sending his people back into the world
to be his servants and his witnesses, for the extension of his kingdom, the
building up of Christ's body, and the glory of his name. We confess with shame
that we have often denied our calling and failed in our mission, by becoming
conformed to the world or by withdrawing from it. Yet we rejoice that even when
borne by earthen vessels the gospel is still a precious treasure. To the task of
making that treasure known in the power of the Holy Spirit we desire to dedicate
ourselves anew. (Isa. 40:28; Matt. 28:19; Eph. 1:11; Acts 15:14; John 17:6,18;
Eph. 4:12; 1 Cor. 5:10; Rom. 12:2; 2 Cor. 4:7)
2. The Authority and Power
of the Bible
We affirm the divine inspiration, truthfulness and authority
of both the Old and New Testament Scriptures in their entirety as the only
written word of God, without error in all that it affirms, and the only
infallible rule of faith and practice. We also affirm the power of God's word to
accomplish his purpose of salvation. The message of the Bible is addressed to
all humankind. For God's revelation in Christ and in Scripture is unchangeable.
Through it the Holy Spirit still speaks today. He illumines the minds of God's
people in every culture to perceive its truth freshly through their own eyes and
thus discloses to the whole church ever more of the many-colored wisdom of God.
(2 Tim. 3:16; 2 Pet. 1:21; John 10:35; Isa. 55:11; 1 Cor. 1:21; Rom. 1:16; Matt.
5:17,18; Jude 3; Eph. 1:17, 18; 3:10, 18)
3. Of the Uniqueness and
Universality of Christ
We affirm that there is only one Savior and only
one gospel, although there is a wide diversity of evangelistic approaches. We
recognize that all people have some knowledge of God through his general
revelation in nature. But we deny that this can save, for people suppress the
truth through their unrighteousness. We also reject as derogatory to Christ and
the gospel every kind of syncretism and dialogue which implies that Christ
speaks equally through all religions and ideologies. Jesus Christ, being himself
the only God-man, who gave himself as the only ransom for sinners, is the only
mediator between God and humanity. There is no other name by which we must be
saved. All people are perishing because of sin, but God loves all people, not
wishing that any should perish but that all should repent. Yet those who reject
Christ repudiate the joy of salvation and condemn themselves to eternal
separation from God. To proclaim Jesus as "the Savior of the world" is not to
affirm that all people are either automatically or ultimately saved, still less
to affirm that all religions offer salvation in Christ. Rather it is to proclaim
God's love for a world of sinners and to invite all people to respond to him as
Savior and Lord in the wholehearted personal commitment of repentance and faith.
Jesus Christ has been exalted above every other name; we long for the day when
every knee shall bow to him and every tongue shall confess him Lord. (Gal.
1:6-9; Rom. 1:18-32; 1 Tim. 2:5,6; Acts 4:12; John 3:16-19; 2 Pet. 3:9; 2 Thess.
1:7-9; John 4:42; Matt. 11:28; Eph 1:20,21; Phil. 2:9-11)
4. The Nature
To evangelize is to spread the good news that Jesus Christ
died for our sins and was raised from the dead according to the Scriptures, and
that as the reigning Lord he now offers the forgiveness of sins and the
liberating gift of the Spirit to all who repent and believe. Our Christian
presence in the world is indispensable to evangelism, and so is that kind of
dialogue whose purpose is to listen sensitively in order to understand. But
evangelism itself is the proclamation of the historical, biblical Christ as
Savior and Lord, with a view to persuading people to come to him personally and
so be reconciled to God. In issuing the gospel invitation we have no liberty to
conceal the cost of discipleship. Jesus still calls all who would follow him to
deny themselves, take up their cross, and identify themselves with his new
community. The results of evangelism include obedience to Christ, incorporation
into his church and responsible service in the world. (1 Cor. 15:3,4; Acts
2:32-39; John 20:21; 1 Cor. 1:23; 2 Cor. 4:5; 5:11,20; Luke 14:25-33; Mark 8:34;
Acts 2:40,47; Mark 10:43-45)
5. Christian Social Responsibility
affirm that God is both the Creator and the Judge of all people. We therefore
should share his concern for justice and reconciliation throughout human society
and for the liberation of people from every kind of oppression. Because
humankind is made in the image of God, every person, regardless of race,
religion, color, class, sex or age, has an intrinsic dignity because of which
each person should be respected and served, not exploited. Here too we express
penitence both for our neglect and for having sometimes regarded evangelism and
social concern as mutually exclusive. Although reconciliation with humanity is
not reconciliation with God, nor is social action evangelism, nor is political
liberation salvation, nevertheless we affirm that evangelism and socio-political
involvement are both part of our Christian duty. For both are necessary
expressions of our doctrines of God and humanity, our love for our neighbor and
our obedience to Jesus Christ. The message of salvation implies also a message
of judgment upon every form of alienation, oppression and discrimination, and we
should not be afraid to denounce evil and injustice wherever they exist. When
people receive Christ they are born again into his kingdom and must seek not
only to exhibit but also to spread its righteousness in the midst of an
unrighteous world. The salvation we claim should be transforming us in the
totality of our personal and social responsibilities. Faith without works is
dead. (Acts 17:26,31; Gen. 18:25; Isa. 1:17; Psa. 45:7; Gen. 1:26,27; Jas. 3:9;
Lev. 19:18; Luke 6:27,35; Jas. 2:14-26; John 3:3,5; Matt. 5:20; 6:33; 2 Cor.
3:18; Jas. 2:20)
6. The Church and Evangelism
We affirm that
Christ sends his redeemed people into the world as the Father sent him, and that
this calls for a similar deep and costly penetration of the world. We need to
break out of our ecclesiastical ghettos and permeate non-Christian society. In
the church's mission of sacrificial service evangelism is primary. World
evangelization requires the whole church to take the whole gospel to the whole
world. The church is at the very center of God's cosmic purpose and is his
appointed means of spreading the gospel. But a church which preaches the cross
must itself be marked by the cross. It becomes a stumbling block to evangelism
when it betrays the gospel or lacks a living faith in God, a genuine love for
people, or scrupulous honesty in all things including promotion and finance. The
church is the community of God's people rather than an institution, and must not
be identified with any particular culture, social or political system, or human
ideology. (John 17:18; 20:21; Matt. 28:19,20; Acts 1:8; 20:27; Eph. 1:9,10;
3:9-11; Gal. 6:14,17; 2 Cor. 6:3,4; 2 Tim. 2:19-21; Phil. 1:27)
Cooperation in Evangelism
We affirm that the church's visible unity in
truth is God's purpose. Evangelism also summons us to unity, because our oneness
strengthens our witness, just as our disunity undermines our gospel of
reconciliation. We recognize, however, that organizational unity may take many
forms and does not necessarily forward evangelism. Yet we who share the same
biblical faith should be closely united in fellowship, work and witness. We
confess that our testimony has sometimes been marred by sinful individualism and
needless duplication. We pledge ourselves to seek a deeper unity in truth,
worship, holiness and mission. We urge the development of regional and
functional cooperation for the furtherance of the church's mission, for
strategic planning, for mutual encouragement, and for the sharing of resources
and experience. (John 17:21,23; Eph. 4:3,4; John 13:35; Phil. 1:27; John
8. Churches in Evangelistic Partnership
We rejoice that
a new missionary era has dawned. The dominant role of western missions is fast
disappearing. God is raising up from the younger churches a great new resource
for world evangelization, and is thus demonstrating that the responsibility to
evangelize belongs to the whole body of Christ. All churches should therefore be
asking God and themselves what they should be doing both to reach their own area
and to send missionaries to other parts of the world. A re-evaluation of our
missionary responsibility and role should be continuous. Thus a growing
partnership of churches will develop and the universal character of Christ's
church will be more clearly exhibited. We also thank God for agencies which
labor in Bible translation, theological education, the mass media, Christian
literature, evangelism, missions, church renewal and other specialist fields.
They too should engage in constant self-examination to evaluate their
effectiveness as part of the church's mission. (Rom. 1:8; Phil. 1:5; 4:15; Acts
13:1-3; 1 Thess. 1:6-8)
9. The Urgency of the Evangelistic
More than 2,700 million people, which is more than two-thirds of
humanity, have yet to be evangelized. We are ashamed that so many have been
neglected; it is a standing rebuke to us and to the whole church. There is now,
however, in many parts of the world an unprecedented receptivity to the Lord
Jesus Christ. We are convinced that this is the time for churches and
para-church agencies to pray earnestly for the salvation of the unreached and to
launch new efforts to achieve world evangelization. A reduction of foreign
missionaries and money in an evangelized country may sometimes be necessary to
facilitate the national church's growth in self-reliance and to release
resources for unevangelized areas. Missionaries should flow ever more freely
from and to all six continents in a spirit of humble service. The goal should
be, by all available means and at the earliest possible time, that every person
will have the opportunity to hear, understand, and receive the good news. We
cannot hope to attain this goal without sacrifice. All of us are shocked by the
poverty of millions and disturbed by the injustices which cause it. Those of us
who live in affluent circumstances accept our duty to develop a simple
life-style in order to contribute more generously to both relief and evangelism.
(John 9:4; Matt. 9:35-38; Rom. 9:1-3; 1 Cor. 9:19-23; Mark 16:15; Isa. 58:6,7;
Jas. 1:27; 2:1-9; Matt. 25:31-46; Acts 2:44,45; 4:34,35)
The development of strategies for world evangelization calls
for imaginative pioneering methods. Under God, the result will be the rise of
churches deeply rooted in Christ and closely related to their culture. Culture
must always be tested and judged by Scripture. Because humanity is God's
creature, some of our culture is rich in beauty and goodness. Because we are
fallen, all human culture is tainted with sin and some of it is demonic. The
gospel does not presuppose the superiority of any culture to another, but
evaluates all cultures according to its own criteria of truth and righteousness,
and insists on moral absolutes in every culture. Missions have all too
frequently exported with the gospel an alien culture, and churches have
sometimes been in bondage to culture rather than to the Scripture. Christ's
evangelists must humbly seek to empty themselves of all but their personal
authenticity in order to become the servants of others, and churches must seek
to transform and enrich culture, all for the glory of God. (Mark 7:8,9,13; Gen.
4:21,22; 1 Cor. 9:19-23; Phil. 2:5-7; 2 Cor. 4:5)
11. Education and
We confess that we have sometimes pursued church growth at the
expense of church depth, and divorced evangelism from Christian nurture. We also
acknowledge that some of our missions have been too slow to equip and encourage
national leaders to assume their rightful responsibilities. Yet we are committed
to indigenous principles, and long that every church will have national leaders
who manifest a Christian style of leadership in terms not of domination but of
service. We recognize that there is a great need to improve theological
education, especially for church leaders. In every nation and culture there
should be an effective training program for pastors and laypeople in doctrine,
discipleship, evangelism, nurture and service. Such training programs should not
rely on any stereotyped methodology but should be developed by creative local
initiatives according to biblical standards. (Col. 1:27,28; Acts 14:23; Titus
1:5,9; Mark 10:42-45; Eph. 4:11,12)
12. Spiritual Conflict
believe that we are engaged in constant spiritual warfare with the
principalities and powers of evil, who are seeking to overthrow the church and
frustrate its task of world evangelization. We know our need to equip ourselves
with God's armor and to fight this battle with the spiritual weapons of truth
and prayer. For we detect the activity of our enemy, not only in false
ideologies outside the church, but also inside it in false gospels which twist
Scripture and put humanity in the place of God. We need both watchfulness and
discernment to safeguard the biblical gospel. We acknowledge that we ourselves
are not immune to worldliness of though and action, that is, to a surrender to
secularism. For example, although careful studies of church growth, both
numerical and spiritual, are right and valuable, we have sometimes neglected
them. At other times, desirous to ensure a response to the gospel, we have
compromised our message, manipulated our hearers through pressure techniques,
and become unduly preoccupied with statistics or even dishonest in our use of
them. All this is worldly. The church must be in the world; the world must not
be in the church. (Eph. 6:12; 2 Cor. 4:3,4; Eph. 6:11,13-18; 2 Cor. 10:3-5; 1
John 2:18-26; 4:1-3; Gal. 1:6-9; 2 Cor. 2:17; 4:2; John 17:15)
Freedom and Persecution
It is the God-appointed duty of every government
to secure conditions of peace, justice and liberty in which the church may obey
God, serve the Lord Christ, and preach the gospel without interference. We
therefore pray for the leaders of the nations and call upon them to guarantee
freedom of thought and conscience, and freedom to practice and propagate
religion in accordance with the will of God and as set forth in the Universal
Declaration of Human Rights. We also express our deep concern for all who have
been unjustly imprisoned, and especially for our brothers and sisters who are
suffering for their testimony to the Lord Jesus. We promise to pray and work for
their freedom. At the same time we refuse to be intimidated by their fate. God
helping us, we too will seek to stand against injustice and to remain faithful
to the gospel, whatever the cost. We do not forget the warnings of Jesus that
persecution is inevitable. (1 Tim. 1:1-4; Acts 4:19; 5:29; Col. 3:24; Heb.
13:1-3; Luke 4:18; Gal. 5:11; 6:12; Matt. 5:10-12; John 15:18-21)
Power of the Holy Spirit
We believe in the power of the Holy Spirit. The
Father sent his Spirit to bear witness to his Son; without his witness ours is
futile. Conviction of sin, faith in Christ, new birth and Christian growth are
all his work. Further, the Holy Spirit is a missionary spirit; thus evangelism
should arise spontaneously from a Spirit-filled church. A church that is not a
missionary church is contradicting itself and quenching the Spirit. Worldwide
evangelization will become a realistic possibility only when the Spirit renews
the church in truth and wisdom, faith, holiness, love and power. We therefore
call upon all Christians to pray for such a visitation of the sovereign Spirit
of God that all his fruit may appear in all his people and that all his gifts
may enrich the body of Christ. Only then will the whole church become a fit
instrument in his hands, that the whole earth may hear his voice. (1 Cor. 2:4;
John 15:26,27; 16:8-11; 1 Cor. 12:3; John 3:6-8; 2 Cor. 3:18; John 7:37-39; 1
Thess. 5:19; Acts 1:8; Psa. 85:4-7; 67:1-3; Gal. 5:22,23; 1 Cor. 12:4-31; Rom
15. The Return of Christ
We believe that Jesus Christ will
return personally and visibly, in power and glory, to consummate his salvation
and his judgment. This promise of his coming is a further spur to our
evangelism, for we remember his words that the gospel must first be preached to
all nations. We believe that the interim period between Christ's ascension and
return is to be filled with the mission of the people of God, who have no
liberty to stop before the End. We also remember his warning that false Christs
and false prophets will arise as precursors of the final Antichrist. We
therefore reject as a proud, self-confident dream the notion that humanity can
ever build a utopia on earth. Our Christian conscience is that God will perfect
his kingdom, and we look forward with eager anticipation to that day, and to the
new heaven and earth in which righteousness will dwell and God will reign for
ever. Meanwhile, we rededicate ourselves to the service of Christ and of
humanity in joyful submission to his authority over the whole of our lives.
(Mark 14:62; Heb. 9:28; Mark 13:10; Acts 1:8-11; Matt. 28:20; Mark 13:21-23;
John 2:18; 4:1-3; Luke 12:32; Rev. 21:1-5; 2 Pet. 3:13; Matt.
Therefore, in the light of this our faith and
our resolve, we enter into a solemn covenant with God and with each other, to
pray, to plan and to work together for the evangelization of the whole world. We
call upon others to join us. May God help us by his grace and for his glory to
be faithful to this our covenant! Amen, Alleluia!